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California Senate OKs conservation chief

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) -- The state Senate has confirmed Gov. Jerry Brown's nominee for director of the California Department of Conservation amid a continuing debate over "fracking," or hydraulic fracturing.

Mark Nechodom was approved Monday after he faced questioning last week over the oil-recovery method.

The department last month proposed draft regulations requiring more disclosure if companies use high-pressure water, sand and chemicals to remove oil and gas.

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg was among senators saying the rules don't do enough to protect drinking water. He now says he is satisfied that Nechodom, a fellow Democrat, will make health and safety a priority.

Nechodom, the husband of Secretary of State Debra Bowen, previously was a senior official in the U.S. Department of Agriculture. He was confirmed on a 34-0 vote.